by Megan Wildhood
(This article originally appeared in Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)
Amazon owes the U.S. government $1.5 billion in taxes. Instead of paying that bill, it got a $129-million tax rebate in 2018 and continues to bully the cities that house its ever-growing number of warehouses for tax breaks, secret deals, and immunity from regulations that protect residents (such as the more than 50,000 Seattleites who work for it). A large percentage of its revenue, which totaled $11.5 billion in 2018, comes from government contracts. It skirts safety and seems to think humans are robots who exist to do nothing but gobble up more and more jobs, which of course pay so little that those “robots” (the majority of whom are contractors, not employees) qualify for food stamps. Workers sustain major injuries and even die violently on the job — but many of them “don’t blame the company.”
After reading Alec MacGillis’ Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, I wondered what it would take for people to start blaming the company. While there is mounting dislike of Amazon in what MacGillis calls Seattle 3.0 (after first discussing the original two iterations of the city), efforts to curb, regulate, or at least mitigate the damage done by Amazon have been insufficient.
Continue reading Book Review: ‘Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America’
by Lola E. Peters
Microsoft and Amazon have one thing in common: They once had their own idea. Ever since, they’ve profited only by taking other people’s technology and ideas, either by gobbling up or undercutting their competition.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, Jeff Bezos announced his departure from the company he founded. A company that revolutionized retail so much it just delivered the new computer mouse I ordered this morning. Unthinkable 15 years ago. There will be much said and written about his resignation as CEO of Amazon. Can the company survive without him (Answer: Of course it can.)? What will change with his departure (Answer: Amazon will no longer be seen as the behemoth run by a behemoth.)? I’ll leave those prognostications to others. My interest is more focused on the impact Bezos’ philosophy has had on our region.
Continue reading OPINION: Does Amazon Minus Bezos Equal Greater Civic Engagement?
by Kshama Sawant
“It should surprise no one that the Mayor who has overseen police indiscriminately tear gas protest movements is now trying to gaslight an entire city into thinking she believes that Black Lives Matter.”
Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has given us torrents of tear gas, blast balls, and pepper spray, who has staunchly defended Amazon and billionaires from even minimal taxation, and who has presided over brutal austerity budgets, is now offering a 2021 budget that will only double down on hard times for Seattle’s working people and marginalized communities.
Behind her gauzy rhetoric about “reimagining policing” and the “largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice,” Mayor Durkan is proposing a business-as-usual budget that fundamentally fails working people, especially in Black and Brown communities.
Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police
by Aaron Burkhalter
See below for a statement Kshama Sawant issued in response to news that many Amazon employees are losing other benefits as their wages are raised.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced Oct. 2 that the retail giant would pay all its workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour beginning Nov. 1. Activists working to raise the minimum wages across the United States credited the ongoing movement for forcing Amazon to up compensation to its workers.
Continue reading Q&A: Councilmember Kshama Sawant Celebrates Amazon’s Concession to a $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage while Pushing for Further Action
by Carolyn Bick
Anand Giridharadas is a former New York Times foreign correspondent, but his newest book, Winners Take All, isn’t based on what he witnessed in other countries. It’s based on what he’s seen right here in the United States. The book examines our current understanding of philanthropy, in which the nation’s wealthiest give money to mitigate the problems they help to create.
Continue reading Author Anand Giridharadas Brings His Research on America’s Extreme Wealth and Inequality to Southside Commons